Patriots' Love has no time to smell the roses

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Patriots' Love has no time to smell the roses

FOXBORO - The Patriots' standard set of captains doesn't figure to change much this season: Brady, Wilfork, Mayo, Slater, Mankins and McCourty.

But this preseason, when the Patriots rested a fleet of front-line players against the Eagles, they sent out a different set of players for the pregame coin toss. One of them was Kyle Love.

Pregame coin flip in the preseason with the varsity in shorts and t-shirts? Woot. Woot. Put that on the Hall of Fame bust.

Context, though. Context.

Love, undrafted in 2010, has arguably had the most impressive rise among the fleet of undrafted players that make up a large portion of the Patriots' roster.

He wedged himself into use in 2010, playing in nine games. In 2011, he started 13 and - along with Vince Wilfork - was the most potent inside force the team had.

The son of a retired Army colonel, Love's attention to detail and steady improvement have led to success and a new contract.

But he's paying no attention to the trappings of what he's done.

"I don't really try to get into it too much," Love answered when asked if he's reflected at all on his success. "I just do my job."

In a profession where the employees are constantly reminded, "You're either getting better or you're getting worse..." reflection is anathema to success.

"It doesn't stop," said Love. "It doesn't stop at all. Can't never get complacent, can't never get to the point where you feel relaxed. That's in any field, any job. There's always somebody behind you working hard who wants to do what you can."

NFL careers can be fleeting. By the time a player is conscious he hasn't stopped to smell the roses, the roses may be dead or dying.

Not much they can do about it. Simply a fact. For Love, though, the roses are just reaching bloom.

(See what I did there? It all just tied up real nice...)

Bryan Stork: 'Nothing but great memories' with Patriots

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Bryan Stork: 'Nothing but great memories' with Patriots

After being traded to the Washington Redskins this week, former Patriots center Bryan Stork broke his 35-day Twitter silence to say farewell to New England.

For those who are wondering, the acronym "HTTR" stands for "Hail to the Redskins," the team's fight song. #HTTR is used by the team and fans on social media.

Stork was reportedly mulling retirement after being dealt, but has decided to report. 

The Patriots informed Stork of his release early Wednesday, but the Patriots and Redskins were able to work out a deal for a conditional 2017 seventh-round pick before the move was processed.

Ratto: Kaepernick controversy touches on hot-button issues in an ugly political year

Ratto: Kaepernick controversy touches on hot-button issues in an ugly political year

Ray Ratto joins Chevrolet SportsNet Central to discuss Colin Kaepernick's decision to not stand during the national anthem before the San Francisco 49ers preseason game.

Belichick says all three QBs could use more game reps

Belichick says all three QBs could use more game reps

Bill Belichick was expansive Saturday when asked on a conference call how he'll split the quarterback reps for the Patriots final preseason game Thursday in New York.

"I think that’s a good question, it’s a fair question, it’s one that we really have to give some good consideration to," Belichick began. "As I said before, I think whatever we do will benefit whoever does it. We want to get Jimmy [Garoppolo] ready for the Arizona game. Tom [Brady] isn’t going to be playing for a while, so it’s kind of his last chance to play until he comes back after a few weeks. Jacoby [Brissett] certainly could use all the playing time that he can get. I think that whichever players we play will benefit from it and it will be valuable to them. We could play all three quarterbacks a lot next week and they’d all benefit from that and it would all be good, but we can’t."

Since they can't, Belichick said there will be situational work done with whoever isn't going to get the game reps.

"We only have one game and so many snaps, so we’ll have to, between practice and the game, put them in some situations that are somewhat controllable like a two-minute situation or things like that that you know are going to kind of come up one way or another," said Belichick. "You can sort of control those in how you want those broken down, what’s best, what does each guy need and how can we get the best we need for each guy. I need to let them get the reps that they need, but it’s how do we get the team ready for what they need to be ready for. They all need to get ready for different things.

What Jimmy’s role is in a couple weeks is going to be a lot different than what Tom’s is, and it’s going to be a lot different than what Jacoby’s is. At some point later on, those roles are going to change again. So again, there’s no perfect solution to it. We’ll just do the best we can to try to have our individual players and our team as well prepared as possible at whatever point that is that we have to deal with, and whenever those situations come up."

As I wrote earlier today, this is the sticky and uncomfortable situation arising from Deflategate. It's not a Tom Brady penalty. It's a team penalty when one considers the ripple effects. And there's no handbook to consult.